My Astronomy

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My New Book May 2018My previous e-book


My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

MyT Hand Controller

My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

Astronomy Blog Index
About the Site

 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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Auriga overhead at 0600 Local Time in Mojacar Almeria Thursday 26th October 2017

I am currently in Mojacar in Almeria which is a lightpolluted location. However at 6 am local time this morning, in comparison with my usual base in Lancashire in the UK, the sky was ablaze with stars. I observed the stars from the terrace of a house which is only a few hundred yards from the Mediterranean Sea. Auriga was almost overhead and I could make out the M36,M37 and M38 clusters through my 8 X 30 binoculars.

Messier 36 - Remote Image by LA

Messier 37 - Remote Image by LA Messier 38 - Remote Image by LA


Agnes Mary Clerke - Astronomy Historian

Read the article on Agnes Mary Clerke printed in the Society for the History of Astronomy journal "The Antiquarian Astronomer" by clicking here. It will load as a PDF.


The Crab Nebula from California - 30th September 2016

M1 from T24 California 600second exposure



M1 The Crab Nebula from Spain - 30th September 2016


M45 from Spain - 30th September 2016


Messier 29 from Spain - 25th September 2016

I took this image of M29 remotely from Spain last night (300 seconds)

This is the low res preview image.


From Wikipedia about M29:

"Messier 29 (also known as M 29 or NGC 6913) is an open cluster in the Cygnus constellation. It was discovered by Charles Messier in 1764, and can be seen from Earth by using binoculars.

The star cluster is situated in the highly crowded area of Milky Way near Gamma Cygni, at a distance of 7,200 (most sources including Mallas/Kreimer and Burnham, and agreeing with early estimates or R.J. Trumpler 1930) or 4,000 light years (the latter from Kenneth Glyn Jones and the Sky Catalogue 2000.0). The Night Sky Observer's Guide by Kepple and Sanner gives a deviating value of 6,000 light years – the uncertainty due to inaccurately known absorption of the cluster's light.

According to the Sky Catalog 2000, M29 is included in the Cygnus OB1 association, and approaching us at 28 km/s. Its age is estimated at 10 million years, as its five hottest stars are all giants of spectral class B0. The Night Sky Observer's Guide gives the apparent brightness of the brightest star as 8.59 visual magnitudes. The absolute magnitude may be an impressive -8.2 mag, or a luminosity of 160,000 Suns. The linear diameter was estimated at only 11 light years. Its Trumpler class is III,3,p,n (as it is associated with nebulosity), although Götz gives, differently, II,3,m, and Kepple/Sanner gives I,2,m,n. The Sky Catalogue 2000.0 lists it with 50 member stars; earlier Becvar gave only the number of 20 members.

This cluster can be seen in binoculars. In telescopes, lowest powers are best. The brightest stars of M29 form a "stubby dipper", as Mallas says it. The four brightest stars form a quadrilateral, and another three, a triangle north of them. It is often known as the "cooling tower" due to its resemblance to the hyperboloid-shaped structures. A few fainter stars are around them, but the cluster appears quite isolated, especially in smaller telescopes. In photographs, a large number of very faint Milky Way background stars shows up.

M29 can be found quite easily as it is about 1.7 degrees South and little East of Gamma or 37 Cygni (Sadr). In the vicinity of M29, there is some diffuse nebulosity which can be detected in photographs."


Join the Society for the History of Astronomy(SHA) - 24th September 2016

The Autumn edition of the SHA Bulletin is about to be delivered. Don't miss out on this issue which is now in full colour.


Messier 31 from New Mexico - 24th September 2016

I used telescope T14 with a photometric V filter to take an image of M31. This is a snip of the low res preview image. I also took FITS and TIFF images yet to be processed. A 180 second exposure.

From Wikipedia about M31:


The Andromeda Galaxy (/ænˈdrɒmdə/), also known as Messier 31M31, or NGC 224, is a spiral galaxy approximately 780 kiloparsecs (2.5 million light-years) from Earth.[4] It is the nearest major galaxy to the Milky Way and was often referred to as the Great Andromeda Nebula in older texts. It received its name from the area of the sky in which it appears, the constellation of Andromeda, which was named after the mythological princess Andromeda.

Being approximately 220,000 light years across, Andromeda is the largest galaxy of the Local Group, which also contains the Milky Way, theTriangulum Galaxy, and about 44 other smaller galaxies. Despite earlier findings that suggested that the Milky Way contains more dark matterand could be the largest in the grouping,[12] the 2006 observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope revealed that Andromeda contains one trillion (1012) stars:[9] at least twice the number of stars in the Milky Way, which is estimated to be 200–400 billion.[13]

The mass of the Andromeda Galaxy is estimated to be 1.5×1012 solar masses,[7] while the Milky Way is estimated to be 8.5×1011 solar masses. In comparison, a 2009 study estimated that the Milky Way and M31 are about equal in mass,[14] while a 2006 study approximated the mass of the Milky Way at 80% of the mass of the Andromeda Galaxy. The Milky Way and Andromeda are expected to collide in 3.75 billion years, eventually merging to form a giant elliptical galaxy [15] or perhaps a large disc galaxy.[16] The apparent magnitude of the Andromeda Galaxy, at 3.4, is among the brightest of the Messier objects,[17] making it visible to the naked eye on moonless nights, even when viewed from areas with moderate light pollution."


Messier 33 from New Mexico - Saturday 24th September 2016

I used the 6 inch refractor with a single shot colour camera to image M33 a moment ago. (300 seconds)

This is the preview image.


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